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BREAKING: PM Roble says he will not comply with Farmajo directive, blasts President for electoral meddling

Thursday September 16, 2021

Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia's Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, issued his strongest rebuke of President Farmajo on Thursday, following Farmajo's announcement that the PM's powers to hire and fire officials have been suspended.

The PM issued a lengthy statement accusing the President of desecrating Somalia's provisional constitution, sabotaging the electoral process, politicizing the security apparatus, and adding to the country's political instability. Roble also ordered Somalia's military not to get involved in the political affairs of the country.

"The Prime Minister, while safeguarding the national interest and the system of government, urges the President to stop violating the National Constitution, violating the electoral agreements, disrupting the work of the Government, creating instability and attempting to sabotage the elections."

The statement begins by dismissing the President's Thursday decree that effectively stripped the PM of his electoral and security responsibilities. Roble said that he would not comply with the directive.

"The decree from the President titled suspending the powers of the Prime Minister and expediting the country's elections is clearly in violation of the Provisional National Constitution and contradicts Articles 87 and 90 of the Constitution. It does not allow for the President to interfere in the constitutional powers of the Prime Minister and the government."

The PM added that Article 99 of the Constitution allows the PM to appoint and dismiss the Council of Ministers.

PM Roble also accused the President of conveniently ignoring the constitution with regards to term limits.

"The President is ignoring Article 91 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the term of office of the President shall be four years from the date of his swearing-in, which ended on February 8 this year. The President sowed chaos and instability in an attempt to interfere with the constitutional powers of the government.

The second part of the PM's statement blasted the President for wielding the state's power to interfere in the nation's electoral process.

"The illegal decree issued by the President is proof that he has not given up his ambition to stay in the country, return to civil war or occupy the highest office in the country illegally.

PM Roble said that the President failed to fulfil his constitutional mandate of bringing the country to elections at the end of his term.

"The President, who was responsible for guiding the country is transparent and democratic elections, failed to fulfill his constitutional mandate, which led to the agreement reached on September 17, 2020, which the Prime Minister was mandated to implement the agreement so that the country can have an agreed election."

The PM said that the President leveraged the security sector to renege on electoral agreements immediately. He added that the President's actions culminating in his unilateral bid to extend his term for two years, leading to some of the deadliest violence Mogadishu has seen in years.

"Unfortunately, within days, the President - using some of the security agencies and his office - began to thwart the election, violate the agreement reached, undermine the power of the Prime Minister and create widespread conflict. Finally, the President made a bloody attempt to extend his term, which he has yet to relinquish.

The PM said that the latest directive is another ploy at interfering in the electoral process.

"In recent months, the President has taken steps to undermine the constitutional powers he has returned to Parliament via the Prime Minister, who is in charge of security and elections, and has also attempted to nullify the May 27, 2021, agreement which was designed to put an end to the crisis caused by the President's decision to extend the term of 12-April 2021."

The PM instructed all government officials to ignore the directive and continue their work. He also urged Somalia's Federal Member States and election commissions to expedite the electoral process.

Roble also justified his most recent directive that ordered the finance ministry not to disburse any funds without his consent by accusing some government agencies of corruption.

"The Prime Minister underlines that it is unacceptable that the budgets of some government agencies are being used outside the country's financial transparency system and that the financial institutions must adhere to the Prime Minister's Decree, issued on the 9th of this month; for accountability and transparency."

PM Roble's comments come as the two leaders have been locked in a constitutional power struggle that began with the PM ordering then-NISA director Fahad Yasin to explain the kidnapping and murder of his agent, Ikran Tahlil. On Thursday, the PM accused the President yet again of interfering in that investigation.

"According to Article 3 of the Provisional Constitution, the Prime Minister reminds the President to uphold the fundamental principles of separation of powers and to stop interfering in the affairs of the government and the judiciary, as he is now by trying to prevent justice for Ikraan Tahliil Farah."/

On Monday, Farmajo appointed a five-member committee to investigate Ikran's  murder. Farmajo's announcement was met with skepticism by the public, opposition figures, MPs and Ikran's family, who interpreted the move as another obstacle to the investigation. The PM dismissed the appointment as illegal and moved to consolidate his control of the intelligence sector.

All of Somalia's state-run media groups carried the PM's statements, which signals that the PM still retains influence in his cabinet.

There was no immediate comment from President Farmajo.

Somalia's political crisis has worried international partners. There are reports that the UK has requested a closed-door meeting of UN Security Council Members to discuss the developments.

The PM called on the international community to prevent any attempts at derailing the elections.

The President and the PM have met at least once to resolve the crisis. However, the meeting failed despite having the opportunity to speak one-on-one.


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